After a pretty train ride through meadows of sheep and cute wee towns, we arrived in the city of Inverness. There, we hired an incredibly awesome French sports car (nicknamed "Phillippe") and cruised deeper into the Highlands. We navigated LOTS of roundabouts (still on the wrong side of the road) and narrow roads, driving through incredibly green, vast countryside and the Glen Shiel mountains. Below are "drive-bys," as I call them. The fog was heavy and it was a rainy day, but I didn't mind. Highlands, here we come!
As we wound through the hills, we finally arrived at the teeny tiny town of Dornie, best known for being home to Eilean Donan Castle. Dornie is a small, former fishing village, located in the western Ross-shire Highlands where the lochs (lakes) Duich, Alsh and Long meet. I loved the little harbor scenes all over, with deep emerald green mountains, trickling waterfalls, dramatic gray skies, old tugboats and stark white crofts/houses dotting the shore. Such a majestic spot!
I was beyond excited to find out that Eilean Donan Castle was a 4-minute drive from our bed and breakfast. Even in spitting rain and gray skies, it was still too good to be true.
The view across the loch from our room at the b&b.
Just at the end of the lane from our b&b sat an old boat named Girl Beth. A beaut!
We ventured out in the pouring rain for dinner in Dornie and found one restaurant -- The Clachan. Fresh seafood and yummy burgers hit the spot. After dinner, the rain let up a bit and we checked on the castle again after it was closed to visitors. Took a few shots from across the loch.
Driving home for the night, the sun battled the clouds for a short break.
The next morning we ate breakfast, checked out and said our goodbyes to Eilean Donan before heading to the Isle of Skye for a few days. It hadn't opened to visitors yet and skies were (somewhat) blue, so I was in heaven.
And so we headed to the Isle of Skye, a place I'd dreamed about and never thought I would ever get to see. As we crossed the Skye bridge the landscape became wilder, more remote, even more stunning and extreme in both weather and beauty. These were the highlands I'd hoped to see!
We stopped at Sligachan, a small settlement with a gorgeous 1830s hotel nearby and views of the Cuillin mountains.
We arrived at the Trotternish Peninsula--way up on the northeastern coast of Skye--on a super rainy, blustery, stormy day.
We happily tucked into our bed and breakfast to ride out the rain, and enjoyed a yummy late lunch there before checkin. I'll say it -- we had THE BEST lunch of our lives -- Highland beef and mac and cheese pies. Tasted even better than they looked.
Our room looked out onto the backyard and a garden. These two kids had tried to make a run for it and jumped their fence, baa-ing right next to our window. We didn't mind ... when does that ever happen?
Taking advantage of less rain (it was still raining but not as heavy), we ventured out to discover our surroundings. A quick drive North and we found Kilt Rock. My husband held onto me as I leaned over the cliff fencing to get these shots. Good thing, because the wind was insane!
There are no words to describe the rich, vibrant colors ... and no way to do them justice!
Back on the highway, we headed past tiny wee villages towards the bigger town of Portree for dinner.
Portree is a picturesque town popular with tourists for its restaurants, views and colorful buildings set beside the bay. Ate an amazing dinner here before tucking back into our quiet b&b further north, away from the crowds.
Woke up to a blue sky day -- a rarity on Skye, we'd heard! Making the most of it, we ate an early breakfast and headed back to Kilt Rock. So glad we did! Mealt Falls crashed into waters the color of beach glass as the sun lit up the cliffs.
I love that the wild skies always look ready for a downpour at a moment's notice. Taking advantage of a no-rain scenario, we drove a few minutes further north along a narrow, single-track lane (i.e.: if another car is coming your way, you play chicken until one of you spots a turnout or "passing place" to slide into). Makes driving exciting.
The Quiraing is a landslip on the Trotternish Peninsula made up of pinnacles and dramatic crags, tons of sheep and hiking trails. Even in wind and random rainclouds it was hauntingly beautiful. Those white dots are sheep. Tons of them in the Quiraing!
Passenger-side view of our drive. Something out of a Saturn commercial.
My husband got a shot of me nerding out on the hilltop with a ram. I nicknamed this guy Neighborhood Watch.
I think he found the best possible place to snack in all of Scotland. These views!
On my Scotland bucket list was to see a Highland cow, or 'hairy coo' as they're called. Heading back to our b&b for the night, I checked it off the list. They are the teddy bears of farm animals, if you ask me. I was basically on 'Coo Watch' our entire time on Skye.
The quiet, wild drive down isolated roads back to our b&b for the night. Very little traffic, some of it four-legged.
The sun sets very late in the summer on Skye, and we were treated to beautiful skies even at 9 p.m.
Per usual, I took far too many photos to show in one blog. Our final day on Skye is coming next -- Fairy Pools, boats, mountains and more as we leave Skye for Oban!
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